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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:53 am

    Laughing

    I probably came across a bit harsh in my previous post, but I really do have issues with hockey, and the level of violence that is tolerated -- expected -- in it compared with almost any other sport on earth (boxing and the like excepted, of course). I appreciate the skill that goes into it, but frankly many of the players come off as exceptionally dumb in real life, and perhaps GOON is a comentary on that, but the fact it's a comedy loaded with "crowd-pleasing" violence sends the criticism


    I fared a bit better yesterday, possibly because I only saw one film, the Midnight Madness screening of France's LIVID, which was quite good:



    The only problem with the experience was the short film that preceded it, an dreadfully self-serving piece remembering the events of 911 from a film festival perspective, through the eyes of programmers, movie critics and some indie cinema locals. Blecch! When somebody relayed the tragedy of all those poor "movie stars worrying about how they were gonna get home" and how the festival hoi polloi really took the lead in getting the city through the crisis, I wanted to retch.

    Today's a bit more busy. Just heading out now to see one by Coppola, one by Johnnie To, a nother by London-based Chinese author/direcotr Xiaolu Guo, and wrapping up with another Midnight Madness pick from France called THE INCIDENT.
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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:55 am

    Brian T wrote:...Not sure I have one yet! I haven't seen the entire Milkyway oeuvre, but I've seen about 90 per cent of it, and I've yet to find a "worst". Mind you, of what I have seen, I'm sure there's some that rank lower than the others, but I don't recall ever going lower than a 7 on the pictures I have seen. Perhaps WU YEN will be my first? Laughing I also have one in the to-watch pile called LET'S SING ALONG which looks worrisomely silly. I've also long-wondered if MY LEFT EYE SEES GHOSTS is to be approached with caution. Wink
    ...

    I actually like MY LEFT EYE SEES GHOSTS (gave it ***/****; though I really don't like my capsule review of it so I won't post it here), sure some of the performances (Sammi) can be shrill (Sammi), but I enjoyed it the one and a half times I have seen it. I did not like WU YEN.
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:50 am

    I watched Johnnie To's latest, LIFE WITHOUT PRINCIPLE tonight, and would rate it somewhere in the upper middle of To's filmography in terms of achieving what appears to be its goal: an exploration of the effects of a sudden economic meltdown on three disparate characters who, as far as I can recall, never actually meet in the course of the film. though their tales of fiscal impropriety intersect in sometimes amusing ways, through secondary characters and incidents, or when To doubles back a couple of times to show how different story threads dovetail into the same event, which then sets the characters off on new financial shenanigans. Early scenes involving Denise Ho's bank financial services advisor trying to boost her quota by selling high-risk investment packages to people too greedy and ill-informed to understand them are the most potent (and seemingly best-researched), and probably would've formed the basis of an interesting feature in and of themselves. Instead, To adds Lau Ching-wan as an aging triad toadie who gets in over his head on the markets in an effort to bail a pal out of jail, and Richie Ren as an investment-averse cop whose wife is so smitten with an astronomically priced condo that she goes behind his back to seal the deal. The very idea of To tackling the subject of money-obsessed Hong Kongers in the midst of a market meltdown is a potent one (even if it is a bit late to the party), and the film indeed shines in many ways, but it ultimately feels a bit unfocused, as if the director and his writers tried to weave every aspect of an economic crisis they could think of into the plot. The result is that each of the three main storylines also has other little episodes embedded within, for better or worse. In the Q&A (which I'm uploading soon), To was asked about the "Milkyway Creative Team" credited as screenwriters (as opposed to the HKMDB, where they're all named already), and he loosely explained that the script was never really complete (sounds familiar), and that he had multiple versions of the film jerry-rigged before settling on the version we watched. I almost wish he had approached this subject matter with a tone akin to SPARROW -- the music and elements of the climax certainly have that lyrical quality present in much of his work. Still, high-second-tier To is still eminently worth watching. 7/10
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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:42 am

    I'm looking forward to seeing it of course. To prefers not to work with a completed script (he bemoaned that fact when he had one for Linger -- which I still need to see).

    As you know I love Sparrow.

    Looking forward to reading the Q AND A. I will post a link to it at my site for my Johnnie To thread. May I quote it (giving you credit of course)?
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:57 am

    You can use it however you like, credit or no credit! Very Happy

    I knew of his aversion to scripts -- and considering the scripts to some of his very early pictures, I can't blame him -- but that kind of process carries inherent risks. Thankfully, he's a masterful filmmaker, so even when the resulting picture isn't all that it could've been, it's still more intriguing than the work of some of his contemporaries.

    It's actually one of the longest Q&A's he has ever provided at TIFF, and the first (I believe) where he attempted many answers in English (as well as Cantonese, of course). He was up there for a good 30 minutes (He may have extended the Q&A this year because he missed the introduction due to a delay. ), and said some interesting things, including the name of his favourite of his films (as opposed to the one the fans seem to like best), and the possibility of another sequel to a certain pair of triad films from a few years ago, and also the fact that he still prefers shooting on film over digital. If I'm reading his answer to the first question properly, he's already got his next film in the can and is about to start work on another. Smile

    Here's the first part. Not sure if all the audience questions are clear due to ambient noise and distance from my camera, but To's and his translator have decent audio:



    . . . and the second part:



    Before I gorget, there is one thing I LOVE about this movie: the climax will NOT please the mainland nannies, so it should be interesting to see if he shot an alternate for that market, or just won't bother releasing it there.

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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:01 pm

    Brian T wrote:...It's actually one of the longest Q&A's he has ever provided at TIFF, and the first (I believe) where he attempted many answers in English (as well as Cantonese, of course). He was up there for a good 30 minutes (He may have extended the Q&A this year because he missed the introduction due to a delay. ), and said some interesting things, including the name of his favourite of his films (as opposed to the one the fans seem to like best), and the possibility of another sequel to a certain pair of triad films from a few years ago, and also the fact that he still prefers shooting on film over digital. If I'm reading his answer to the first question properly, he's already got his next film in the can and is about to start work on another. Smile

    Here's the first part. Not sure if all the audience questions are clear due to ambient noise and distance from my camera, but To's and his translator have decent audio:
    ...Before I gorget, there is one thing I LOVE about this movie: the climax will NOT please the mainland nannies, so it should be interesting to see if he shot an alternate for that market, or just won't bother releasing it there.
    ...

    Thank you for this Brian. I will go over later (I'm hoping there is no spoilers on those Very Happy; if so I might wait to watch after I see the film.) I did reference you on my post.

    One thing on coproductions (quoting our buddy David Bordwell from his latest version of Planet Hong Kong): "Chinese authorities grew wise to the game and soon insisted that jointly produced films had to create a single version for release in Hong Kong, the Mainland, and overseas."

    Now the question is will they allow HK productions to go in China if they have more than one version?
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:42 pm

    Sort of a digression here, but in the Q&A for LIFE WITHOUT PRINCIPLE, one of the questions asked is in regards to the lack of Lam Suet in this film. I don't quite have all of To's answer, but it's beside the point, as on the way out, I overheard THREE diferent conversations regarding the actor, and in all three cases, they pronounced his name "Lam Sweat". This has irked me for years. I realize that "Suet" could be interpreted that way, but seriously, how could anyone who would even know this actor, and therefore be a fan of Hong Kong cinema, even think that sounded in any way Cantonese? I know for a fact that some of this ignorance was (perhaps unintentionally) spread by Midnight Madness programmer Colin Geddies himself, as he has pronounced it that way on at least two occasions when presenting films featuring the actor at TIFF in the past. At least in the LIFE WITHOUT session, the audience member got it right (i.e. "Lam Soo" with a slightly clipped "t" at the end), but the urge to correct the patrons leaving the theatre was overwhelming. Still, I resisted. I pride myself on not being that guy . . .
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    ewaffle

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  ewaffle on Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:34 pm

    This has irked me for years. I realize that "Suet" could be interpreted that way, but seriously, how could anyone who would even know this actor, and therefore be a fan of Hong Kong cinema, even think that sounded in any way Cantonese?

    Maybe they were using the received BBC treatment for all French names: say them in English, pronouncing all the letters and ignoring accents in the original. It was a WTF moment for me when I heard a BBC news announcer say the name of the then French Minister of Culture as Jack Shee-rack. Hearing the name of Maurice Couve de Murville on the BBC was indescribable.
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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:05 am

    What ewaffle does not have a review on The Storm Riders Very Happy? I watched that movie last night after a failed attempt awhile back (get the-non English dub version if you do not have it). Really the first 15 minutes are not that good and that was the main reason I stopped it awhile back (that Dragon does not help; funny because some of the other special effects are good), but the film gets better and more fun as the film progresses. I know the film is historically important because of its use of CGI and what it did for Centro and how popular it was at the box office in Hong Kong.

    Some of the acting is a little creaky (Sonny Chiba and Anthony Wong were as cool as usual) and sometimes I felt that a little more understanding of the comic books would have helped with some of the characters as well.

    David Bordwell has quite a few mentions of it in his book.
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    ewaffle

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  ewaffle on Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:41 pm

    What ewaffle does not have a review on The Storm Riders?

    Quite a noticeable lacuna since "The Storm Riders" is such a canonical movie but it isn't that I haven't reviewed it, I haven't even watched it--even though there may be two copies of "The Storm Riders" on a shelf or in a stack not far from where I am sitting. It's a bit like flipping through a one-volume complete works of Shakespeare and running across a play you haven't read.
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:37 am

    I can't say this with any authority, as I haven't exactly seen all the films out of Hong Kong this year, but if Ann Hui's social drama A SIMPLE LIFE doesn't win a boatload of awards -- in adition to the various charitable awards bestowed upon it according to Dennis' news reports -- I'll be heartbroken. Despite TIFF screwing up the screening schedule by loading up Johnnie To's LIFE WITHOUT PRINCIPLE (go figure -- another HK film!), then stopping the show for 45 MINUTES while they found the right discs (all the while lying about the source of the delay to the audience, most of whom probably didn't recognize the 20 seconds of To's film), A SIMPLE LIFE turned out to be one of two absolute highlights of my fest list so far (the other being THE RAID, which I just can't stop thinking about). Andy Lau is a resourceful film producer -- cue industry cameos! -- who devotes himself to caring for his family's "amah" (Deannie Yip) -- their servant of several decades -- after she has a stroke and asks to live in a senior home. Hui finds just the right balance of dramatic realism, gentle humour and a social dialogue crucial to a city with an increasingly aging population -- the seniors' facility isn't exactly paradise with it's thin, cubicle-style 'rooms' and overburdened staff, but neither is it painted as a total hellhole (it's apparently part-owned by Anthony Wong, who seems to be playing himself in the film!). Yip deserves every award she's likely to get for her work here, starting with the Best Actress Award she picked up this week in Venice ( http://www1.szdaily.com/content/2011-09/13/content_6041464.htm ).

    I recorded the intro, in which Ann Hui backhands her previous fest entry ALL ABOUT LOVE, but doesn't elaborate. This was the first film of the fest for which I actually had a few questions for the director, but the delay scotched my opportunity, and the lobby where she was kind enough to entertain audience members was ridiculously noise and hardly the right place for anyone to do anything but thank her and snap pictures. Sad



    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    In other TIFF Asian cinema news, I also recorded the intro and interview for Huh Jun-ho's debut thriller COUNTDOWN, with the director and stars Jeon Do-yeon and Jeong Jae-yong. This is a very confident debut -- and features one of the better-choreographed car chases in Korean cinema -- but as far as slick, stylin' Korean thrillers go, it doesn't really bring anything revolutionary to the table, and in fact gets predictably bogged down in heart-rending melodrama all throughout the third act. The audience, heavy with Koreans (naturally), was rather animated that two of the country's biggest (and by my estimate, best-dressed) performers were in attendance: Laughing






    Last edited by Brian T on Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:11 am

    ewaffle wrote:
    What ewaffle does not have a review on The Storm Riders?

    Quite a noticeable lacuna since "The Storm Riders" is such a canonical movie but it isn't that I haven't reviewed it, I haven't even watched it--even though there may be two copies of "The Storm Riders" on a shelf or in a stack not far from where I am sitting. It's a bit like flipping through a one-volume complete works of Shakespeare and running across a play you haven't read.

    I'm just teasing of course. While I do like the film I do feel it is more important for its historical part of HK cinema (CGI) than the actual film itself.

    Here's a quick write up I did on it (not a proper essay/review Very Happy):

    The Storm Riders (1998: Andrew Lau Wai-keung) Hong Kong **½/****

    While this film is probably better known because it was the first major HK movie to rely heavily on CGI than as a sagacious entertainment, it still is a fun film. It is based on a martial arts comic book series called "Fung Wan: Wind and Cloud" by Ma Wing-Shing. This was my second attempt at watching it. The first time I got about 15 minutes into and had to watch something else. The start is still somewhat bad, contains some funky special effects, but really is not indicative of the movie (well except for the animated dragon, which really is not a good looking animated fire dragon).

    Sonny Chiba is quite good as the mostly evil and ruthless Xiong Ba (that is not his voice though) who is trying to control the martial arts world (hmmm, normal jianghu wuxia plot). From a prophecy by the Mud Buddha (Lai Yiu-cheung) he takes two kids, literally by killing their guardians, who he teaches kung fu so they can help him keep his grip as the overlord of the martial arts universe. But Mud warns that while they will help him obtain his position, they will also lead to his downfall. They grow up to be Striding Cloud and Whispering Wing (played by pop stars Aaron Kwok and Ekin Cheng) and along with Frost they help control the region. However there is an martial artist Sword Saint (Anthony Wong) whom Xiong has not beat yet and has a future date to fight against.

    The direction, cinematography and use of CGI by Andrew Lau (Infernal Affairs) range from the sublime to the ridiculous. In some ways it reminds me of the kinetic direction of Tony Scott (without the helicopter shots; unless I missed those). When it works like with Sik Mo-Gin’s (the Buddhist) scenes you feel excited and when the step-printing goes overboard like in the first 15 minutes you feel discombobulated. The CGI looks good when it is used in the small like with raindrops, the powers of the characters, but ridiculous with the large like the animated dragon.

    The acting of the two leads is nowhere near as interesting as the supporting characters.

    This is followed by a recently released sequel The Storm Warriors (2009) which just came out with a R1 DVD release. Fans of HK cinema will want to watch this.

    Do not watch the English dubbed version which is much shorter and makes this story even more difficult to understand (be warned I bought a dubbed version which stated wrongly that it was and looked exactly like a non-dubbed version). The Universe R0/NTSC is the main version out there and it has a variety of extras which I’ll peruse later. The print is good and for the most part the subtitles are good (occasionally a spelling or grammar mistake).


    Last edited by Masterofoneinchpunch on Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:40 am

    By the standards of Hong Kong cinema special effects in 1998, the work done in STORM RIDERS was, and still is, revolutionary. Even though some of it wasn't up to Hollywood standards -- seriously, what could be at the time? -- they blew all previous dalliances with CGI in Hong Kong cinema (and there were some) out of the water. For me, it was like seeing THE ABYSS or T2 for the first time and really seeing what a technology was capable of doing for a particular region's cinema. I think your review displays the benefit of hindsight, which for this film in particular, has led to a lot of reviewers over the ensuing years dismissing it's then-groundbreaking-for-Hong-Kong effects work as just-passable to downright mediocre without placing enough emphasis on how much of a game-changer it was at the time. Like any film, really, it can't fairly be judged by what came after (not saying you're doing that, but it's far too common). By necessity, the plotting almost had to be familiar lest the filmmakers never get the picture completed on time. I'll agree the leads weren't as interesting as their support, but they were top box office draws at the time, so their casting was absolutely critical to the city's first true Hollywood-style "event" picture. I suspect any alternate casting would still have involved at least one of the other Heavenly Kings (Leon Lai, Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung) and the results might not have been any different. Finally, the production design, art direction, and cinematography were all top drawer for Hong Kong cinema of the era.

    And I still think the fire dragon is a pretty cool piece of work for its time, it's city of origin, and its importance to the action. Cool

    Bits of the dubbed version of this are on YouTube. It makes me want to punch out the people who dubbed it.
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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:04 pm

    I think you misread me. I liked the film and I certainly do not dimiss the film (my rating falls between a **½ and a ***), but I also can't really go back in time to watch it at the proper time either. But remember I did like many of the special effects (except for the Fire Dragon). I understand and acknowledge it's importance but I cannot get as excited by this as I did with Beast Cops.

    Plus also I didn't write a proper review. It was a quick ditty I did for my forum. Wasn't meant to be overly exact Very Happy (the long review I go over and over and over to purge of any uncertainties).

    In the use of special effects it reminds me a bit of Thailand's Legend of the Tsunami Warrior which also showed an improvement for it's use of CGI (in actuality the special effects are better in The Storm Riders than the much later film, but when you see Legend of ... you see the improvement).
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:14 pm

    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:I think you misread me.

    No worries, I gathered everything you were trying to put across in tour piece. It's pretty effective. Smile Thus I wasn't meaning to suggest that you in particular were dismissing the film or its special effects. I was more just re-blabbing my oft-repeated observation that an awful lot of people do dismiss older FX pictures (if not older pictures in general) with the benefit of the wrong kind of hindsight -- that of everything which came after it, and which likely improved upon it -- and it's something that really irks me, so I tend to do the ol' fisheye whenever I read 'new' takes on old pictures. You don't do it in your review, so apologies if it felt inferred.

    Still, if one wants to avoid such questionable analyses, one has to avoid like 80% of IMDB reviews, Amazon reviews, many reviews by teenagers, etc. My beef probably stems from new reviews of older pictures by uninformed people, of which there are many on the webs. Many have this tendency to lump any given movie into the whole of their own experience with cinema (which is tricky if it's limited) rather than into the timeline where it belongs, which of course requires that much more knowledge of what came before it. That's why I think a movie like STORM RIDERS doesn't always get a fair shake for it's effects work. However, once one sees how weak CG effects were in Hong Kong movies prior to it, everything changes. Mind you, I'm sure there are plenty of reviews that DO give it a fair shake, so I guess it all comes out in the wash and this is just me babbling on about the obvious. Smile

    Kinda reminds me of this latter-day Jimmy Wang Yu movie from Taiwan called THE BEHEADED 1000 (1993), which like STORM RIDERS had a huge CGI dragon swooping around during the climax. You can catch it in this trailer, briefly, at the 3:04 mark:



    Now that's some funky CGI! Laughing

    I get that folks can't travel back to 1998 to review a movie released then (hell, I saw STORM RIDERS that year and STILL haven't "officially" reviewed it! Laughing ), but my personal method is to watch each movie I review as though it were brand new and nothing has come after it yet, only what came before it, unless of course it generated sequels, spinoffs or was otherwise wildly influential (all of which merit at least a mention). A spin through IMDB (and even HKMDB) reveals that that's not as common a practice as it probably should be.

    Another thing that bugs me -- and this is probably going off topic -- is when web writers review, say, a movie from the 1970's, and praise or criticize it for it's "70's vibe" or "70's feel". Why wouldn't it have a 70's vibe? It was made ion the 70's!! Now, if a movie was made in the 90's, but set in the 70's, then I could understand saying that it might capture a certain 70's vibe. Or 80's. Or 40's. Etc. Etc.

    Interesting that both STORM RIDERS and BEAST COPS came out the same year. They were both rather important in their own ways . . .
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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Admin on Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:04 am

    Love that trailer Very Happy .
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:33 am

    Admin wrote:Love that trailer Very Happy .

    The movie's pretty good, too! Smile
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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:34 am

    Brian T wrote: ...Another thing that bugs me -- and this is probably going off topic -- is when web writers review, say, a movie from the 1970's, and praise or criticize it for it's "70's vibe" or "70's feel". Why wouldn't it have a 70's vibe? It was made ion the 70's!! Now, if a movie was made in the 90's, but set in the 70's, then I could understand saying that it might capture a certain 70's vibe. Or 80's. Or 40's. Etc. Etc.
    ...

    Except for the 70s clothes. That has a vibe all of its own. Yeah that's a little ridiculous to say it has a "feel" or a "vibe" of a certain decade (duh it's made that decade and well there are ten years a lot can change). I'm not sure I even like the old standard "it epitomizes ..." or "... in a nutshell".

    It's always to go off topic when a forum doesn't have many posts Very Happy. The more posts the better. I hate having a cold, just thought I like to say that (also means my grumpiness factor is exponential).

    I'll have to think of my standard with comparisons. I do future comparisons, but I don't like to hold it against the film I reviewed. I do the comparisons mainly for my own interest or if something is very unique, or if there is a obvious influence coming up. I think mainly I like to inform Very Happy.

    I can easily understand getting annoyed by the vast amount of "bad" reviews out there. Of course the bad comments (forums, tweets, web pages) out there are even worse.

    NOTES: I'm glad I can pick on Ric Meyers here. I do get tired of the bad amount of information out there (besides reviews). While his latest book is an improvement, it still has issues with correct data. Though to be fair he does note a lot of rumors now where in the past he used to state them as fact (usually with this statement like "some have stated" "a rumor" etc... to mark it. His top 100 list movie (I created a list of this on listsofbests) doesn't have 100 films. I mean seriously the bad information out there is insane and I'll state a bad reason why.

    For example let's use Ty Cobb. Al Stump writes a biography that has a tremendous amount of fabrication (some of the details don't come out until years later), many authors quote this book citing it as fact, other authors quote those authors etc... Even today I saw an article on ESPN Grantland which used quite a bit or erroneous information all based on the Stump bio (even though it has been descredited in many of its passages).

    A good example for here is Thomas Weisser (though luckily many have caught on early his bad information). But some of things he states (as well as Ric Meyers has stated) are still pushed on.

    How's that for a rant.
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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:57 am

    some random comments:

    Source Code (2011: Duncan Jones) ***/****

    While you probably did not this explanation I had to get it off-my-chest: The term source code is used in this film in a completely different way than what is normally associated with the term. While it is not uncommon for computer concept terms to be overloaded (have one or more definitions attached: for example Interface which can be both an object-oriented construct as well as something you view), source code has generally meant one thing. Source code is the text files written in a language such as Java, Basic or C used to create an application, a web page (HTML/XHMTL/JavaScript/CSS) or the interface on your cell phone. Of course a film dealing with text files probably wouldn't be as aesthetically pleasing to many. But I do not think too much thought had been given to this or the physics (both are really MacGuffins if you think about it) in this taut thriller.

    This movie was a fun, brisk, enjoyable sci-fi thriller with some big issues in the last act. Jake Gyllenhaal was more effective as this hero than the previous year's Prince of Persia though I sometimes have trouble thinking of him as his character Colter Stevens (is it my expectations or is it his acting ability).

    A much shorter repeatable time structure compared to Groundhog's Day, Early Edition (used this in a few episodes) and Tru Calling Very Happy, but I did like the concept of the short time frame and trying to accomplish with what you learned previously.

    The Quantum Leap influence is quite apparent (besides using Bakula's voice as the father). Being a fan of the original series it is hard not to remember many episodes.

    Spoilers below:

    It really is a bit difficult to talk about the film without spoiling something (for those who get spoilt) and that hurts discussion of this film. Many might feel that knowing he is mostly dead (" a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do") is a spoiler. Interesting that the director states in the extras that an alternate reality gets created with each of these "source code" leaps as opposed to the universes already existing and you are just shifting planes (multiple universe theory such as whenever there is a decision point another universe is structured to handle the different outcomes). But as I said early it is best to probably not think about it too much. Where, for the most part, Inception can be ultimately understood, I'm not sure the ending to this film can be.

    What happens to the Sean Fentress's consciousness? Quantum Leap had the character in a waiting room (in some episodes), not sure what happens here (a created Universe has a much different connotation than an existing one). I was also thinking that missing a huge bit of your character's existence sucks as well (where the hell do I work?) and since Steven's lacks Quantum Leap experience he is going to seem amnesiac in his new world (at least for a little while).

    Imagine if they ended it with a black screen (or a flat line) instead of the universe working out for Stevens.
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:45 pm

    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:Except for the 70s clothes. That has a vibe all of its own. Yeah that's a little ridiculous to say it has a "feel" or a "vibe" of a certain decade (duh it's made that decade and well there are ten years a lot can change). I'm not sure I even like the old standard "it epitomizes ..." or "... in a nutshell".
    Exactly. For me, those two phrases shouldn't really be used, because nearly movie from a certain decade epitomizes some aspect of that decade. Sure, you can rule out certain sci-fi films, but even most of those are reflective of -- and often comment on -- issues that were in the public mindset of that era. Makes me wonder what AVATAR will say about the the first decade of the 21st century in say, 30 or 40 years. "Man, what a buncha treehuggers they were back then." Laughing


    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:NOTES: I'm glad I can pick on Ric Meyers here. I do get tired of the bad amount of information out there (besides reviews). While his latest book is an improvement, it still has issues with correct data. Though to be fair he does note a lot of rumors now where in the past he used to state them as fact (usually with this statement like "some have stated" "a rumor" etc... to mark it. His top 100 list movie (I created a list of this on listsofbests) doesn't have 100 films. I mean seriously the bad information out there is insane and I'll state a bad reason why.

    For example let's use Ty Cobb. Al Stump writes a biography that has a tremendous amount of fabrication (some of the details don't come out until years later), many authors quote this book citing it as fact, other authors quote those authors etc... Even today I saw an article on ESPN Grantland which used quite a bit or erroneous information all based on the Stump bio (even though it has been descredited in many of its passages).

    A good example for here is Thomas Weisser (though luckily many have caught on early his bad information). But some of things he states (as well as Ric Meyers has stated) are still pushed on.
    Boy, don't get me started on Weisser! bom Although it is rather tempting to re-post my list of his errors over here for kicks, but I'd prefer to wait until I'm back into HK cinema with enough regularity that I can start jotting new notes in the margins. I'm not really well-versed in the works of Ric Meyers, largely because I've heard bad things about his reliability from the very early days of my interest in Hong Kong cinema. And if he's only graduated from spreading misinformation to labelling that misinformation as "rumour", instead of either doing the research to confirm it or drop it altogether, then I'll remain wary of his works. I can't remember which DVD is was, but just recently I had some disc in the player with one of his commentaries. I wasn't planning to watch it and only gave it a spin to jump through the chapters to see what the a/v quality was like, but I listened to the first minute or two of the commentary and heard Meyers make some self-deprecating remarks about his research and reputation, but I didn't find it very amusing. Neutral I guess he comes cheap . . .
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:25 pm

    Some more TIFF intro and Q&A videos, for those who might be interested:

    The premiere screening of Katsuhito Ishii's SMUGGLER turned out to be the most amusing experience of the whole night, even if the film was indistinguishable from a million other gonzo torture-gore films of late. The film was delayed so long that programmer Colin Geddes decided to bring the Japanese cameraman accompanying the director onstage to record a greeting to Japan from the Midnight Madness audience (the lights do eventually come on, I promise):



    When the delay lasted even longer, Geddes rounded up another director from the audience, stand-up comedian Bobcat Goldtwait (at the fest to plug his movie GOD BLESS AMERICA), and asked him to do a set so the audience wouldn't demand their money back. I've never been a big Goldthwait fan, but he's had his moments over the years, and this was a pretty generous thing to do, and certainly added some value to the ticket price.




    Finally, after the screening, the genial Ishii did the Q&A, which couldn't hope to match the opening acts, but he gave it his best:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcANMiyFEe0


    Speaking of GOD BLESS AMERICA, I also recorded the intro and Q&A for the third screening of that, and typical of TIFF screenings in the AMC Yonge-Dundas 24-plex, the organizers felt no need to shine a spotlight on the guest, so while these are pretty dark, the audio's pretty good, and Bobcat naturally milks a few laughs out of the event. Just hearing him call Bill O'Reilly a cock made made my day Laughing :




    Getting back to Asia, the first film I saw at this year's fest was Goro Miyazaki's FROM UP ON POPPY HILL. The director had an ace translator at the intro, but that guy was replaced by another, more rambling guy who had difficulty translating long questions from the audience to the director, or from the director to the audience, which made this go on WAY longer than it needed to. Still, there are some interesting bits of info in these:



    And also from Asia, China specifically, though by way of German funding since I doubt it will play in China anytime soon Laughing , was Guo Xiaolu's UFO IN HER EYES, based on her book, the tale of a woman who's uncertain sighting of a UFO leads to all sorts of comic mayhem, rapid, gawdy municipal development (UFO landing pad, UFO hotel, etc.). Like the director's previous works, this will probably provoke some interesting discussion, not least for it's portrayal of the small-minded bureaucracy at work in China's dingy, remote villages. Again, my apologies for the darkness, but once again the TIFF people feel that spotlights aren't necessary during screenings at the Scotiabank googol-plex downtown. You can at least make the people out in this one, somewhat, and the audio is good, AND the participants really bring their passion to the table. And remember, Udo Kier loves China!



    Q&A from the fanciful horror film LIVID (France), from the directors of INSIDE / A L'INTERIEUR. I rather enjoyed this one, very Argento-esque:



    Also from France was SLEEPLESS NIGHT, about a hard-boiled cop (Tomer Sisley) who spends a violent night trying to extract his teenaged-son from a multi-storey nightclub crawling with the minions of a vicious druglord.




    Q&A from YOU'RE NEXT. This winning first runner-up (after Gareth Evan's spectacular THE RAID) in the Midnight Madness People's Choice award convinced me that Midnight Madness audiences are far too-easily sated with paint-by-numbers gore-fests like this one. Nonetheless, it does mark Barbara Crampton's return to the big screen (as in, your big home screen, where this will be seen soon enough once it bypasses theatrical), and she was in attendance, so here's the Q&A's. The director is utterly annoying:



    Still have a couple of odds 'n ends to upload . . .
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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:59 am

    Brian T wrote: .... I'm not really well-versed in the works of Ric Meyers, largely because I've heard bad things about his reliability from the very early days of my interest in Hong Kong cinema. And if he's only graduated from spreading misinformation to labeling that misinformation as "rumour", instead of either doing the research to confirm it or drop it altogether, then I'll remain wary of his works. ...

    Hello Brian, I moved over to the commentary thread all the comments I had on Ric Meyer's commentaries Very Happy. I hope they prove enlightening (or refreshing since you might have read them earlier; but not on this site).

    Years later they might wonder why Avatar took a Pocahontas plot.
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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:22 pm

    Foul Play (1978: Colin Higgins) ***(possibly add ½)/****

    Some films you grow up with tend to be imprinted on your psyche which makes them a bit difficult to review properly. For me it is The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Three O’Clock High, Murder By Death where I put in an underrated category. Though they are not always rated as highly as other films of their times, they are among my favorites. I do not consider Foul Play as good as those movies, but I do consider it underrated. It is a movie I grew up with, had seen many times in the 1980s but had not seen on DVD and had not seen in widescreen. Like when I rewatched The Goonies I knew most of the story (well with The Goonies I knew the WHOLE story) so I wondered what critical eye I would bring to a rewatch.

    Foul Play is still a film I like and rewatching it did not change much except that I could recognize many actors, references and associations that I would not have earlier like that’s not a real albino or there is no movie called This Gun is Mine. I think it is a well made thriller comedy with several actors I like and several comedic scenes that are excellent.

    Goldie Hawn stars as Gloria Mundy a divorced librarian who against her previous conservative self picks up a hitchhiker who at first displays no interest in her until he realizes he is being followed and uses her as a temporary mule for his pack of cigarettes that has a secret film enclosed (the MacGuffin, especially since it doesn’t really play a big part of the film other than to set in motion what happens to her) and he will pick up when they meet at a movie theater later that night. He shows up bloody and ultimately dies but first gives her a warning to beware of the dwarf. When she complains to the management that her date is dead they soon find there is no body. However she will soon find an albino and a scarfaced-man after her as well, but no one to believe her.

    Chevy Chase in his first big role after leaving SNL (especially at the time many wondered if this was a bad idea; like a college athlete leaving school earlier you take a chance so I cannot speculate on what another year or two there would have done for him there, but as the eighties hit his popularity also rose) as a clumsy, sarcastic detective on suspension who is brought into investigating this case of a loony, non-bra wearing blonde who claims to see dead bodies (she had just killed the scar-faced man, but his body has also disappeared by the time the detectives came). Romance eventually ensues.

    Dudley Moore as Stanley Tibbets has a fun supporting role as the lovable pervert whose tiny apartment (finally an apartment size that is correct for a character in the space deprived San Francisco) conceals some great set pieces. This role really helped him get a starring performance the next year in 10. This film was a catalyst for all the main actors here as well (though Hawn did have a supporting role in Shampoo a few years earlier). This movie is full of memorable supporting performances from Burgess Meredith’s karate expertise to Billy Barty’s possible assassin scene.

    While constant watches always make it easier to pick out the plot issues and lack of characterization this is still a good comedy with some thrill moments that still thrill. I always enjoy looking at films in San Francisco (tired of the LA scenery in movies). The biggest issue I have is that the main song "Ready To Take A Chance Again" by Barry Manilow does not fit the movie nor the scenes where it is played.

    As I mentioned in another thread the two DVD releases of this are OOP. I am suspecting that this will eventually go on blu-ray and hopefully packaged like Funny Farm/Spies Like Us (except that hopefully there are no BD issues). But if you find used for a few dollars then I think it is a good buy.

    Has anyone else seen this? I kept the above spoiler free so I did not describe my favorite scenes in detail.
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    ewaffle

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  ewaffle on Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:46 pm

    I haven't seen "Foul Play" for years--a lot of years--but recall some of the scenes and that it was often very funny. If I am remembering the right movie, toward the end there was some running around backstage and sneaking about in the flies above the stage during an opera performance. Goldie Hawn was terrific as the unwittingly deadly but sweet blonde who the damnedest things keep happening to. Again if I recall correctly she was reaction to Dudley Moore's over the top bachelor pad was hilariously deadpan, exactly the kind of unimpressed shrug that would deflate the horndog that Moore was playing. Although I may have conflated a few of her movies...
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:07 pm

    I'm posting a couple more TIFF videos here to illustrate one thing that particularly annoys me about the festival: the people who attend it. Well, not all of them obviously, but there's always that obsequious arse-creeper -- usually armed with her little TIFF-branded tote bag, her doorstopper festival program and her reading glasses hanging from a cord around her neck, or his -- who can't help but address the talent during post-screening Q&A's as if they've known them all their lives and really, truly speak for all of us in attendance when they say what an absolute pleasure it is to park their noses up yet another celebrity pooper.

    This is the Q&A from the second showing Francis Ford Coppola's TWIXT -- a fascinating if not altogether successful return to his early-60's B-movie roots (kicked off with a vintage American Zoetrope logo). Coppola was only in town for the premiere, but actor Val Kilmer and DP Mihai Malaimare put in an appearance to plug the movie at this second unspooling. Kilmer dominates the session, and turned out to be one of the more engaging subjects I've ever seen at a TIFF Q&A, but at around the 8:53 mark in the first video below, SHE shows up, with her silly intimations, shallow praise and complete lack of understanding that question & answer sessions are generally designed to accommodate the asking of actual questions. Sure, she gets a few chuckles from presumably like-minded souls in the crowd (and lots of head shakes and eye rolls that my camera unfortunately did not register), but Kilmer just rides it out, knowing full well all that babble isn't actually going anywhere but up his posterior.

    Oh, how I suffer for my pals here . . .

    Anyways, these do offer some interesting insights in the film, for those who may watch it some day. Once again, this took place in one of the upscale theatres where TIFF sluggos seem to feel no need to use a spotlight (something Kilmer actually complained about when he first arrived at the front of the house, before suggesting they move up to the landing where the lighting was better). I also used these tools on some of the other dark videos posted earlier. It's not perfect technology, but at least you can make out the participants a bit better now:
    I


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